Science 7: Fish Monitoring

Science 7: Fish Monitoring

This lesson meets cross-curricular outcomes for Science 7, Social Studies 7, and English Language Arts 7. Students will learn the significant relationship between humans and the ecosystems in the circumpolar region, including the consequences of human activities on the environment and how to monitor those changes. They will also write a persuasive letter explaining their position on an environmental issue.



Students will learn the significant relationship between humans and the ecosystems of which they are part, including the consequences of human activities on the environment and how to monitor those changes. This lesson shares several excerpts from the Tracking Change reports that includes quotes from Elders, land users and community members on indicators of fish health.



Human societies are a major part of their local ecosystems, and human activities have both direct and indirect impacts on those ecosystems. One of these impacts is on fish habitat, health, and population – including the fish human beings rely on for food. This lesson introduces students to the concept of fish monitoring through Indigenous knowledge systems, the indicators of fish health used, and how to monitor fish habitat, health, and populations.


Key questions for student inquiry: 

How can I know if the fish in my community are healthy to eat? What are some of the ways changes to fish health is being monitored?



In the classroom, with an on-the-land extension


Length of activity:

135 minutes 

Teacher Resources


Materials Needed:

Note: case studies, handouts and worksheets are included in Lesson Plan Package

Connections to Curriculum


Unit A: Interactions and Ecosystems (Social and Environmental Emphasis)

Focusing Questions: How do human activities affect ecosystems? What methods can we use to observe and monitor changes in ecosystems, and assess the impacts of our actions?

  • 3 –  Monitor a local environment, and assess the impacts of environmental factors on the growth, health and reproduction of organisms in that environment
    • investigate a variety of habitats, and describe and interpret distribution patterns of living things found in those habitats (e.g., describe and compare two areas within the school grounds—a relatively undisturbed site and a site that has been affected by heavy use; 
    • investigate and interpret evidence of interaction and change (e.g., population fluctuations, changes in weather, availability of food or introduction of new species into an ecosystem)

Skills: Initiating and Planning

Students will: Ask questions about the relationships between and among observable variables, and plan investigations to address those questions

  • identify questions to investigate arising from practical problems and issues (e.g., identify questions, such as: “What effects would an urban or industrial development have on a nearby forest or farming community?”)
  • state a prediction and a hypothesis based on background information or an observed pattern of events (e.g., predict changes in the population of an organism if factor X were increased, or if a species were introduced or removed from the ecosystem; propose factors that will affect the population of a given animal species)

Attitudes: Mutual Respect

Students will be encouraged to: Appreciate that scientific understanding evolves from the interaction of ideas involving people with different views and backgrounds (e.g., show awareness of and respect for aboriginal perspectives on the link between humans and the environment)



Skills: Communication Skills: Explain circumpolar issues by writing and speaking about them.

Common Learning Experiences: Students should do the following: write a letter to express a point of view regarding a circumpolar issue.



General Outcome 4: Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to clarify and enhance oral, written and visual forms of communication, through a process.

  • 4.1.2 – Use appropriate form and genre to organize ideas and information for a particular audience and purpose.
  • 4.1.3 – Applies understanding of elements of narrative texts when creating oral, print, and other media texts.